Lunch Links: House Ways and Means Deep in Planning for Tax Reform; Chicago Next Up to Vote on Soda Tax; Seattle and L.A. Vote in Taxes for Transportation Improvements; San Diego Rejects Tax for NFL Stadium

November 10, 2016

Today is November 10, the date in 1958 when Harry Winston donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution. Winston sent it by U.S. registered mail, paying $2.44 for postage and $145.29 for insurance. The diamond is valued today at $200 million. Winston wanted to sell the diamond to the Smithsonian but donated it after the parties worked with a tax lawyer to figure out how he could deduct the gift on his taxes over ten years rather than all at once.

Here are some interesting links I came across:

Tax Reform Express: House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady said his staff is already drawing up tax reform legislation for the first 100 days of the Trump Administration, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s enthusiastic about bipartisan tax reform. (The Wall Street Journal/NPR)

New Jersey Takes Over Atlantic City: State officials invoked a provision giving them five years to turn around the beleaguered city’s finances. (Reuters)

Chicago Soda Tax Faces Close Vote: Voters on Election Day approved soda tax ballot measures in San Francisco, Oakland, and Boulder, Colo. The next proposal is for Chicago, where Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is hoping $224 million from the tax will balance the budget. Eight of the 17 board members already say they’re voting no. (Chicago Tribune)

Seattle Approves Transportation Tax Package: Seattle voters approved ST3, an increase in sales, car, and property taxes to add 62 miles of light rail service and expanded bus rapid transit and commuter rail service. The sales tax will rise to 10.1 percent under the measure.

Los Angeles Approves Tax Measures: Los Angeles voters approved four out of four tax ballot initiatives, raising $94 million per year for parks, $1.2 billion for homeless programs, $3.3 billion for community colleges, and $120 billion for new mass transit lines to LAX, Westwood, Claremont, Crenshaw, Norwalk, Artesia, Sepulveda Pass, and eastern San Fernando Valley, and highway improvements to I-5, I-605, and I-710. A similar transportation tax failed in San Diego. (Los Angeles Times)

San Diego Rejects Stadium Tax: A hotel tax ballot initiative to pay for a new football stadium got only 43 percent support, far short of the two-thirds required. The NFL’s San Diego Chargers have an option to move to Los Angeles that they must exercise by January 15, and their billionaire owner had demanded San Diego taxpayers help construct a new football stadium. A separate measure that would have provided land to the Chargers but not funded construction costs failed as well, with 40 percent support. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Arlington, Texas, Approves Baseball Tax: Seventy percent of voters approved admission and parking taxes to fund a $1 billion baseball stadium. (Watchdog)

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